Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Baby "Must Haves"

As per Elaine's request I'm going to blog about my opinions on what items of baby gear are Must haves/ Good-to-have/Unnecessary. These are just my opinions based on what worked for us. Babies and families have different needs so other moms might not agree 100% with my categorization.
Since most of this stuff goes on a baby registry, I want to say a few things about registering. I understand that a lot of people have guilt issues over making a list of things for other people to buy you. Here is the thing, your friends and family love you, and are very excited to help you out with your new baby. They want to buy you something! Particularly something that you will use, and that other people didn't/won't get you. This is why registries exist. The general rule of thumb is that you don't put anything on the registry you wouldn't purchase yourself. If you are going to buy the $600 stroller go ahead and put it on the registry, who knows maybe all your co-workers want to go in together on it. Furthermore, it is important to have things at all price points (high and low). Also, I think proper etiquette for most shoppers is to decide what you want to spend and purchase as few items to get to that price as you can. For example, if you want to spend $50 try to purchase a $50 gift. If you purchase 2 $25 gifts then the person who only wanted to spend $25 is left with nothing to buy (this rule is flexible if there are tons of $1-$10 items on the registry. ) A good registry is key to a successful baby shower, if there isn't enough on the registry you are going to get a lot of items you don't want. Okay I'll move on now.

(To help me remember I'm looking at the new parents checklist from babies r us.)

  • Car Seat: I think the infant car seat is much better (and safer) for a newborn than a convertible car seat that covers newborn to toddler. They are very useful for moving sleeping babies to and from the car, and sometimes we would put Colin in it to sleep in the house (usually around 2am when he wouldn't go back into the bassinet or crib.) If you are registering, it doesn't hurt to register for both the infant car seat and the convertible car seat for when your baby outgrows the infant seat.
  • Stroller: Your options here are limitless. I really liked the 'snap and go' for the infant car seat because it was smaller and fit in our car and closet. The travel system is great if you have the space. We knew we had the wrong option when we had to choose between the stroller and the play yard for a family vacation.
  • Baby Carrier: I preferred the sling variety, Sean liked the Bjorn. I've heard great things about the Ergo and might get that the next time around. I do consider this a MUST.
  • Bouncer/ Bouncy seat: While these may seem like they have limited use (generally only up to 20lbs or so) you need a place for your baby to sit that isn't the floor. These range in price from $20 to $190, so you have to do some research and read lots of customer reviews to decide what will work best for you. If you travel alot get one that folds flat (we always missed ours when we traveled because it wasn't portable.)
  • Bottles/Bibs/Burp Cloths: How many depends on whether you plan to nurse or bottle feed. I had about a dozen bottles and Colin never really took to them so they didn't get used. However, I kept going out and buying more and more burp clothes because I couldn't keep them clean. I think I ended up having about 20 (remember we don't have laundry in the apt so I couldn't just do a load whenever I needed.)
  • High Chair: We used the space saver kind and it had a recline function so I used it with Colin as little as two months old so I had somewhere to put him in the kitchen while I made dinner.
  • Baby tub/towels/washcloths: Those little hooded towels are a must to keep little heads from loosing too much heat. The tub you choose will depend on your situation and space. I loved out space saver folding tub because it fit in the sink so we didn't have to bend over to bathe Colin when he was an itty bitty. We could only use it for about 5-6 months because Colin outgrew it quickly. This is a good item to try to borrow from someone.
  • Baby Care and Grooming items: Forget the all in one kits. I have yet to find one that actually has good/working products inside. Not having a good thermometer caused us a real scare in the Colin's first day home. So register for a quick read, digital thermometer (the ear kind are unreliable on young infants but work great for older tots), a good pair of nail clippers and a little comb/brush set.
  • Diapers/Wipes: Definitely a must have. You choose the variety.
  • Baby Monitor: Unless you live in a one room apartment you probably need one of these. Even if your room is next door, you'll need some flexibility at nap time. I've heard people do without. I wouldn't want to.
  • Crib/mattress/sheets: You certainly don't need the bedding set if you are looking to save money, but the crib is pretty necessary. I have four crib sheets, and I'm a little bummed that I choose the plain cream ones now that the bumper is off. I purchased one recently just to add a little life to the crib. (Colin didn't notice)
  • Receiving blankets: No matter what season you bring baby home in you will need a boat load of receiving blankets. This is another item I kept returning to the store to buy more of.. I think I have ten+, although they don't get much use beyond the swaddling period.
  • Clothes: Yes you need them, but you probably don't have to register for any because people will invariably just buy what they like. I have no idea how many you need, I had over 50 onesies in 0-3 month size when all was said and done. Colin wore maybe half of them in the month before he moved up to the next size.
  • Toys/Rattles/Teethers: You won't need much for the first three months but it never hurts to pick out a few things you like, you will need them eventually.
Alright then! I'm going to stop here and save the "Good to Haves" and the "Unnecessary" for another post. Since it took me about two weeks to finally finish this post, don't hold your breath for the other two to follow too quickly.

Feel free to leave comments about your ideas of what is a "must have". I'll update this post if I think of other things that I might have forgotten.


Julie said...

do you have a problem with the baby bjorn? i find that it hurts my back terribly! thankfully, i bought it off of craigslist for $20. i have tried the sling, but i think i am using it incorrectly....annabelle was NOT happy that day! now, i am anxiously waiting for my moby to arrive in the mail. i hope it works out!

nice list! oh btw, i am going to add the "itzbeen" baby timer to the must haves list! i use it constantly. it is very helpful to know when and how long annabelle eats. i also use it for other random purposes. thanks for the tip!

Erin said...

I agree with your assessment. Infant carseat is a must, I can't imagine putting a newborn in a convertible -- and with preemies, they can't go in convertible carseats b/c the angle of the back/neck isn't correct. Snap and Go is fabulous, and the bouncer is a must. I never got into baby carrying, it just didn't work for me. I know there are ways to "double-sling" twins, but I never attempted it. I also agree with the waste of money that is the "all-in-one grooming kit" -- the nail clippers/scissors aren't sharp enough to cut nails effectively. Also must have a rectal thermometer -- b/c if you call your ped's office, they are going to want a rectal temp in order to assess the situation ...

Daisy and Ryan said...

The Ergo IS great!! Totally worth the cost. Aiden was NOT a fan of slings or anything that held in his legs. We were able to use the Ergo with him, and he was always calm and seemed comfy. He wouldn't use it with the infant insert, though, but Ergo has a place on the website explaining how to use it without the insert if your child isn't quite ready to have a leg on each side of the Ergo (around five months). He also was fine in the Moby, but the Ergo fit most of our out-of-the-house visits, while the Moby was good for at home. He eventually would do the sling some when he could SIT in it, but that was it - and that didn't last too long b/c by then he was heavy, and it wasn't too comfy for me. The Ergo is still in use and will be for quite a while - holds them at much higher weights than things like the Bjorn (and the bjorn really isn't good for the babies b/c of how it lets their legs "dangle" - the Ergo has them sitting the way they should, which is much better for their back and alignment, from what I have read. I've heard some negative things against the bjorn in that regard).

I remember the phase where we went through a new bib just about every 20-30 minutes (or more!!). So the HUGE stack of bibs we had was a life saver. We got some nice ones from Carter that were "waterproof" - those are nice but not cheap! And then we had a lot that we had gotten used, which was cheap. Either way works fine - just needed a LOT! If you think you have way too many...you might have enough. ;)

We have a Graco high chair - it does lean back plenty for the younger babies, though we didn't have it then (used the bouncy). I think many of them recline enough for infants that can't yet sit.

Clothes - we even asked people not to get them b/c we had plenty. Nobody listens to that. They get what they want. Some people bought from the registry, but even people that knew about it often didn't. It can be annoying when there are things on there you actually need and you get things you won't use. (Have to sometimes remind myself...it's the thought.) ;)

I agree that a carrier is nice versus a convertible seat right away. When Aiden actually did fall asleep in the car, I certainly appreciated bringing the seat in and letting him remain asleep for a little while b/c he was not one to stay asleep if I even tried to unbuckle him!

Also agree to get a rectal thermometer. We got one that has a short base, so you don't even have to worry about inserting it too far. :)

And clippers...someone gave us the fancy ones with the magnifying glass. That just got in the way with me. I had to search to find the regular, basic ones - they work best, in my opinion.